So, today, Mitt Romney announced that he was SUSPENDING his campaign (not endorsing anyone, just suspending campaigning – and the media is really screwing up their reporting on this). The announcement came as a surprise during his speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) (which I’m at, but I didn’t hear his speech – I’ve talked to people and all of them, even Laura Ingraham who introduced him were surprised). People I’ve talked to said he appeared close to tears, but I haven’t seen a video yet. I’ll tell you the story of how I heard, and then give details on what this means for the race:
So, I’m in Washington, D.C. for the CPAC, and today I had a photo-op with Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE) – my perosnal hero. Anyway, he got caught up in committee, so I went and watched the Senate for an hour and a half (boring as ever – 1 person spoke for 30 minutes and the rest was waiting for quorum call), but I watched the House talk about an education bill. Then I went back to the Senator’s office and talked with his staffer who said that Romney had dropped out. Luckily I had over-heard people talking about who they thought Romney’s delegates would go to, so I was somewhat prepared. Then I got back to the hotel and heard that he had only suspended his campaign.
Here’s what Romney said: “If I fight on in my campaign, all the way to the convention, I would forestall the launch of a national campaign and make it more likely that Senator Clinton or Obama would win. And in this time of war, I simply cannot let my campaign be a part of aiding a surrender to terror.”
So, what does this mean for the Republicans and the party?
First, it should be noted that Romney suspended his campaign, he did NOT drop out (this is where the media has made me very angry, and even some political analysts who were on TV via phone, not actually working for the networks, have gotten angry at the way the media has reported the story). His whole point was not “If you vote for me, it hurts the party,” but “If I continue to campaign against McCain and point out his bad spots, it hurts the party.” So staying in on the ballots has nothing to do with it. Suspending active campaigning has EVERYTHING to do with it – and the media is really angering me by the way they’re reporting this.
So, Romney still has 286 delegates, plus he may get some in Hawaii. Ron Paul has 16 and may also get some in Hawaii. Mike Huckabee currently has 286 and by my count could get another 450+ delegates (at least 300 of those I am VERY confident of). So, there are 2,380 delegates total. Take away 286 and that’s 2,094. Take away 736 and you have 1358. Take away 20 for Hawaii and you have 1328. The magic number needed to win is 1,197. So that means that assuming McCain takes all the other states (other than Hawaii and the Huckabee states), McCain wins by 131 delegates. But what about the unpledged RNC delegates – if he loses some of those, he would barely win, if even win at all. As well, this is assuming that McCain takes all of a state’s delegates – and here’s the problem with that assumption. Most of the states that McCain will now win are proportional, while most of Huckabee’s strong states are winner take all.
So, did Romney only suspend his campaign so that he can bribe McCain into giving him the VP spot? I don’t know, but McCain’s statement that he wants to sit down and talk with Romney as soon as possible seems to add my suspicions. Either way, I think in order for McCain to win, he’s going to have to make a deal with either Huckabee or Romney (even Ron Paul by the end could get enough delegates to help him, but he’d never pick Paul and Paul would never accept).
Will McCain ask that Florida and Michigan’s delegates be seated, since Florida would get him more delegates? We’ll have to see.
What will be important is McCain’s running mate – because people will be asking, “If McCain dies, do I want ______ to become President?” I wouldn’t be surprised if we had as many Vice Presidential debates as we will Presidential debates.
Ultimately, I think McCain will win, but then again, I counted him out months ago, so anything could happen. Romney could back Huckabee all of a sudden and things would change drastically (for instance – Huckabee might win Idaho and Wyoming). IF it goes to a brokered convention (then we’re screwed), McCain will probably win just because him and Giuliani will get party leaderships support.
Tags: 2008 Election, 2008 Primary, Barack Obama, Brokered Convention, Campaign, Candidate, Chuck Hagel, Conservative Political Action Conference, Convention, CPAC, Delegates, Election, Election Results, Elections, Florida, Hawaii, Hillary Clinton, Idaho, John McCain, Mike Huckabee, Mitt Romney, Politics, Primary, Republicans, Ron Paul, Rudy Giuliani, Vice President, Vice Presidential Candidate, Wyoming